Rachel Weisz: Brit and Fit

The London-based actress is taking her lumps, and they're leaving bruises!

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Though British actress Rachel Weisz is a doe-eyed stunner on-screen, when I bump into her at the West Hollywood gym Crunch, she looks a little, well, green.

"I thought I was going to be sick," she confesses the next day when we meet at a coffeehouse which happens to be across the street from the gym in discussion. Our earlier chance encounter had occurred at the end of a grueling workout with her trainer, she explains. "British trainers are more polite and they don't really push you," she laughs. "In Los Angeles, my trainer is, well, not a sadist but close."

Weisz couldn't have been too out of shape when she reported for training, since her last gig was the romantic drama Land Girls, in which she plays an "upper-class, intellectual, eccentric virgin" who enlists in the Women's Land Army, a real-life corps of women who tended to the farms of Britain when the men went off to fight World War II. "I nearly crashed a tractor into a tree," admits the 26-year-old Londoner when asked how she took to farming skills. "But I was pretty good at milking the cows. You have to block and squeeze, block and squeeze." She demonstrates her technique over her tea cup. "You get wrist ache after a while but it was very satisfying to see the milk spurt."

With three films coming out back-to-back--the recent Swept From the Sea, then Land Girls, followed by the erotic thriller I Want You--Weisz is enjoying a satisfying work binge. And it's a versatile slate, too. From a physicist in Chain Reaction to a bitch in Stealing Beauty to the tragic heroine in Swept From the Sea, Weisz has refused to become a pigeonholed Euro-babe. And which of these various incarnations is her favorite image of herself? "My favorite image of myself is a Polaroid, actually," she says. "I've got my arm up and I have this great, big bruise down my side which I got on the stage in Design for Living. I just love it. It says, I've worked this hard." Her trainer would be proud.

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Dennis Hensley



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